Written on: 10/07/2006 by degbert (120 reviews written)
The staff really, really tried to make us welcome
The staff try too hard, the hotel is very poor, the food was dreadful, the surrounding area was a bomb site.
OK we'd been in Singapore before Sri Lanka, and were in en-route, but we had a few hours holed up in the Airport Garden hotel while we awaited an onward connection. Perhaps I was just expecting too much having just come from Singapore, the capital of "customer service" in Asia, maybe.
Airport Garden: an oxymoron I'm afraid, the garden in question is more of a shabby rain forest and the airport suggests some proximity, which is clearly an error. Some 5 or more miles away along uneven roads and with the usual refined Sri Lankan approach to driving it was a thoroughly unpleasant to and from ride.
To be fair to Kuoni, their 'assigned representative' is contracted out to some local bureau, but I'm afraid the whole travel industry in Sri Lanka is - on this evidence - a little behind the times on meeting expectations.
The hotel was on the sleepy side of tired, very few guests meant we had the attention of about 20 staff checking in, always a little disconcerting, and then we were shown to a pretty shabby room, with a 10 inch TV and 20 year old duvet and probably the worst room service I've had in years.
The view was of what I think had been a tennis court, couldn't say for sure, that was overrun and being chewed by a tethered goat. If the goat had been missing a leg that perhaps would have explained my steak sandwich (that bit is a joke by the way).
But the staff, bless 'e, they were really trying, these guys; even asked me to fill in a questionnaire, and the operations manager even came to say hello as we were leaving. I tried to smile but I think we all knew.
All a bit twilight zone for me I'm afraid. I'm happy to leave and I would not wish the experience on anyone unless they like weird and quirky. And if so this is the one for you. If not, and you HAVE to stay in Colombo, then go downtown and get in the Hilton or somewhere you can trust. If you don't have to stay overnight, just grin and bear it in the airport, which is not fantastic, but trust me its just not worth the effort getting the day room.
Check out any of my other reviews to realise I am not normally overly critical, if anything quite the opposite.
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